Cough, exertional, and sex headaches

Neurol Clin. 2004 Feb;22(1):133-49. doi: 10.1016/S0733-8619(03)00092-6.


Cough, exertional, and sex headaches are three relatively rare and distinct but related syndromes, all of which are triggered in the context of rapid rises in intra-abdominal pressure. Cough headache occurs after single or brief series of such rises, whereas exertional and sexual headache typically arise after more prolonged provocations. All three syndromes may occur as the manifestation of an underlying, potentially serious cause and appropriate management involves the elimination of intracranial structural or vascular abnormalities. The pathophysiology of the three syndromes is poorly understood. They share several clinical features including relatively brief duration and a response to indomethacin.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Coitus*
  • Headache / diagnosis*
  • Headache / etiology
  • Headache Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Headache Disorders / etiology*
  • Headache Disorders / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Hypertension / complications